The Mavs’ 35-year-old star played a season-high 46 minutes in Wednesday’s 106-105 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, a rugged game that decided the order of the West’s last two playoff seeds. Nowitzki played every second of the fourth quarter and overtime despite bruising his right knee in the first half when he banged it against Memphis center Marc Gasol’s bulky knee brace.
“It’s just a bruise,” said Nowitzki, who scored 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting in the loss. “Gasol is wearing that huge brace, and I ran into it like four times, I think. We’ve got plenty of time until Sunday, obviously. I’ll take it easy tomorrow and get ready to play Sunday.”
Nowitzki wore a rubber knee brace in the second half, saying he just wanted something to protect the knee if he banged it again. He said the knee didn’t bother him much after halftime.
“Hey, this guy’s a machine,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He don’t come out of games unless there’s something really wrong. I’ve never seen a guy as resilient as him when it comes to those kinds of things with injuries. It’s another reason he’s one of the all-time greats.”